Local News

Triangle House Construction Slowing

Posted September 21, 2007 8:27 p.m. EDT
Updated September 21, 2007 11:58 p.m. EDT

— For all the growth in the Triangle, the national housing crunch is starting to creep in and home sales are slowing.

New home building permits are down by 9 percent in Wake County compared with last year, but the economic impact goes well beyond buyers and sellers. Jobs are on the line.

From the siding crews to the mortgage lenders, an estimated 50,000 people in Wake County make their living off building homes. Housing-related jobs account for about 10 percent of the economy.

“Furniture companies, people who sell window coverings, landscaping companies – its not just trickle down. It’s kind of a spider web,” said Trish Hanchette, KB Homes’ division president.

Hanchette said the Triangle has been blessed with a steady housing market, but slowdowns have implications.

“You have to be concerned. There are people we employ. We care about those people,” she said.

“It does appear as if the overall national slowdown is beginning to be felt here,” said N.C. State University economist Mike Walden.

That bodes well for home buyers as builders compete for a shrinking market share, according to Walden. The problem is that plenty of jobs depend on that market.

“This is a big, big industry, and anything that's going to slow down that industry could have noticeable effects on things like our overall employment rate as well as our unemployment rate,” Walden said.

The home sales slump is clearly hitting the local real estate industry. Applications for real estate licenses are down about 60 percent.